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Following on with the editor’s prostate experience, this story tells of our family's dealing with this new frightening fact!
The diagnosis and the following months of agonizing over which treatment to agree to, were past. Some treatments were not physically possible, others seemed to have greater after-effects so the choice was radiotherapy. This was set down to start in a further 3 months after this decision.
Our communication with so many members of our immediate family turned into emails and toll calls, with the idea that we all get together for a family time together for No 1 husband and father.
Some quick arrangements were made with the following intending actions.
We all meet in Christchurch at a hotel (now in the red zone) and spend a couple of nights there while overseas couples arrived. From there we organized a 'mystery' trip and no information was given to anyone.
The NZ family members all flew in to Christchurch and the first overseas ones to arrive were our son with his Japanese wife. We went to the overseas lounge and sat down with the other members of the family sitting a bit further away at another table.
Gary and his wife walked in with lots of hugs and we sat down. As arranged, a son-in-law walked past and I said in amazement, doesn't that look like Amos? Gary looked around and agreed with his mouth open and I then said, 'goodness, that looks like Rosemary and Frances and families sitting there"! Great hugs and surprised faces!
Next to arrive was a son from the USA. Then. a daughter from Australia. The ones from England had arrived earlier.
As our family has a terrific sense of humor, the nights in the hotel almost eventuated in our being removed from it! Playing spoons, upside down and under the table, not to mention lots of singing along to the ambiance music in the restaurant!
At the 'mystery' side of this we had 2 taxis arrive at the hotel in the morning. We all piled in and there were numerous guesses as to where we were going! Down to the railway station and on to the Arthurs Pass train. During this trip we advised everyone that we would tell them with very little time, when we would be getting off. The train stopped at various stations and I stayed in the seat. Then at a particular point, the train stopped in the middle of the desolate river valley. All other passengers were looking puzzled until our family gathered themselves together and stepped off into this wonderful and lonely landscape! There, the host of our resort met us in a 4x4 vehicle to transport us back to the property. Some members decided to walk as it was not too far away. Flock Hill was most welcoming and the exact place for a big family. Too far away for the neighbors to complain about the hilarity that evolved once more! The wait for dinner for all of us was a bit longer so I do remember the curtains were used as a burlesque act while spoons were either banged or fitted over ones eyes to look like a space age robot. Long after dinner had finished, we ended up in one of the worker's quarters where they had been out shooting possums. One son-in-law commandeered a possum body and swung it, up and down on a rope, outside the window as if it was in this deadly dance!
The party ended by climbing into a previously organized rental bus and travelling down to the North Otago where our home was. The house was adequate for all and as the weather became increasingly inclement (the outside family photo in the forest was abandoned) we set up in the lounge with a roaring fire at our backs. A local photographer with great talent had been asked for this and she took a number of set poses then stated that we could use our imagination for the next photo! What a thing to ask? A possum bike cover was used as a mustache, various implements, brooms and fire pokers were pointed in dangerous directions but finally the photo was taken! It is on the wall and will be on the wall for a long time now.
An update of this story is that the No 1 Husband and father, having tests every 6 months, has never developed any further symptoms after 10 years. An extremely good result and totally due to catching the problem early.
(Names have been changed here to protect those members of the family who may be embarrassed )